UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO PRESIDENT REJECTS FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT RECOMMENDATION

Toronto, ON - University of Toronto President Meric Gertler has rejected his own committee’s recommendation to divest from some fossil fuel companies. This decision comes at the end of three years of advocacy by the University community, including endorsements from the Faculty Association and all major campus student unions. The President instead announced that he is asking the University’s investors to consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors.

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CITIZENS CALL FOR TRUDEAU TO FIX HARPER'S NATIONAL ENERGY BOARD AT TORONTO EVENT

For Immediate Release Toronto, Board of Trade, March 27th 2015, 12:30pm

CITIZENS CALL FOR TRUDEAU TO FIX HARPER’S NATIONAL ENERGY BOARD AT TORONTO EVENT

Today, the CEO of the National Energy Board (NEB) will be at the Toronto Board of Trade to make an ‘important announcement about Canada’s energy future.’ Just outside of this event, a crowd of peaceful demonstrators took action to call out the illegitimacy of the NEB’s pipeline review process. The group of demonstrators, which includes students, youth and climate justice activists, held space at the registration table for the event, until escorted out by security, with placards strung around their necks. These placards displayed the following messages:

  • Canada’s Energy Future shouldn’t ignore Climate Change

  • Canada’s Energy Future shouldn’t ignore indigenous rights

  • Canada’s Energy Future shouldn’t include Harper’s National Energy Board

  • Canada’s Energy Future must have 100% Clean Energy

Once escorted out, they held a mock press conference outside of the building.

Yesterday the Trudeau Government announced they would require an additional climate test for the Kinder Morgan and Energy East Pipelines. While this is a victory for the directly affected communities fighting these projects, it ignores how any new fossil fuel infrastructure is incompatible with the Trudeau Government’s promise at the Paris Climate negotiations to strive to limit global warming to 1.5C.

“These commitments are a great start,” said student divestment campaigner, Ben Donato-Woodger, “but the government is still trying to push through projects such as the Kinder Morgan and Energy East pipelines using the Harper government’s assessment process. If they’re committed to real action, they must redo the review process for these projects – or reject them outright given the massive Indigenous and public opposition, as well as the dire repercussions for the climate.”

These demonstrators are also expressing their opposition against a pipeline review process that does not respect Indigenous rights, and one that is currently being challenged in courts by Indigenous communities such as the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. These Toronto-based activists are not alone. Hundreds of other people across Canada that have mobilized over the last two weeks in opposition to the broken pipeline review process -- including at the Kinder Morgan hearings in Burnaby, the office of the Minister of Natural Resources in Winnipeg, and at the Prime Minister’s constituency office in Montreal. “It’s 2016. Canada’s energy future needs to be powered by Indigenous and community-led renewable energy projects – not antiquated fossil fuel infrastructure.” said Suhail Barot, a Toronto engineer.


Contact Information: Ben Donato-Woodger 416-320-0340 ben@toronto350.org


COP21: Ambitious Goals and the Implications of 1.5

The Paris Agreement is a landmark step to prevent global catastrophe, and moves us closer to a world free of fossil fuel burning. It is also admirable that finances are to be allocated through the Green Climate Fund to not only fight climate change, but to agree to distribute those funds on a needs basis.

However, as many other environmental advocates have noted, this agreement fails on a number of key points. Notably:

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University of Toronto on Track for Largest Fossil Fuel Divestment to Date in Canada

December 16, 2015 | For Immediate Release

University of Toronto on Track for Largest Fossil Fuel Divestment to Date in Canada

Presidential Committee Recommends Divesting From Fossil Fuels Companies Who Will Warm the Planet by more than 1.5 ℃

 

Toronto, ON -A University of Toronto Committee just recommended immediate targeted divestment from fossil fuel companies whose activities “disregard a 1.5-degree threshold” of global warming. UofT is now poised to be the largest Canadian university to commit to divesting from most fossil fuel companies. The University of Toronto fossil fuel divestment campaign welcomes the Committee’s opinion that “the social injury caused by fossil fuels companies whose actions blatantly disregard the 1.5-degree threshold is clear, egregious, and inordinate.” Jade Wong, a student organizer commented on this saying, “this decision reinforces the Paris Climate Agreement’s implication that the era of fossil fuels is over.”

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200+ University of Toronto Professors Call for Divestment from the Fossil Fuel Industry, Students March on Campus

For your immediate release, October 27th, 2015:

200+ University of Toronto Professors Call for Divestment from the Fossil Fuel Industry, Students March on Campus

Toronto, ON--More than 200 University of Toronto faculty members have signed an open letter urging the University to drop all of its direct stock holdings in coal, oil, and gas. Professors from dozens of departments, from engineering to anthropology, signed the open letter, available at UofTfacultydivest.com. A recommendation on divestment will be made to the U of T administration by an advisory committee this December, close to the time when UBC is expected to decide.

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Mulcair's Mistake Last Night

 


Last night, Thomas Mulcair told Canadian voters that the Energy East pipeline could be a “win, win, win” scenario. A win for the economy, a win for the environment, and a win for the climate.

Today, Toronto350 activists attended an NDP rally to make sure that the Honourable Leader of the Opposition understands that we do not agree.

Ex-Quebec Minister of the Environment, Mr. Mulcair said that the way forward was to fix the environmental assessment process and the National Energy Board. Our volunteers went to his rally in Toronto to ask a simple question – how?

How would he undo the damage done to the integrity of the Energy Board?

How would these improvements change the fact that building and running pipelines is inherently dangerous to the environment, increases our dependence on oil, and pumps even more carbon into our fragile atmosphere?

How could the 35% increase in tar sands extraction Energy East would facilitate be compatible with climate action?

Unfortunately, rather than engage our activists, the NDP had them removed from the rally.

The NDP's position baffles more people than us. They oppose Northern Gateway, they oppose Keystone XL. Energy East faces all the same problems but is a far bigger pipeline. It would stop the NDP from fulfilling the Climate Change Accountability Act if elected.

The Liberals are just as bad. Trudeau promised a "fixed" Energy Board would move resources to market. Trudeau promised to secure the oil industry Energy East.

We join millions of other Canadians in again urging all political parties to reconsider their positions on pipelines, which are a lose, lose, lose scenario. Throwing out dissenters is not the Canadian way and not how we will solve the most pressing issue of our generation.



How many must resist to change the system?

In his 2015 book Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt, journalist Chris Hedges describes the research of two academics who have investigated the determinants of success for rebellious movements. He writes:

"Maria J. Stephan and Erica Chenoweth examine 100 years of violent and nonviolent resistance movements in their 2008 article "Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict." They conclude that nonviolent movements succeed twice as often as violent uprisings. Nonviolent movements appeal to those employed within the power structure, especially the police and civil servants, who are cognizant of the corruption and decadence of the power elite and are willing to abandon them. And, the authors point out, with as little as 3.5 percent of the population who are organized and disciplined, it is possible to bring down even the most ruthless totalitarian structures." (p. 84)

As far as I can tell, the claim about 3.5 percent of the population doesn't come from that paper, but from Erica Chenoweth's 2013 TEDxBoulder talk: "The success of nonviolent civil resistance" (See also: "Peaceful protest is much more effective than violence for toppling dictators").

Regardless of the precise source, there's an appealing symmetry to that 3.5% figure, when placed alongside the conviction that the atmospheric concentration of CO2 must be kept below 350 parts per million (ppm) if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Three and a half percent means three and a half per hundred. Three and a half per hundred is the same as thirty five thousand per million, since one million is ten thousand times one hundred. If Stephan and Chenoweth are right, achieving 350 parts per million in the atmosphere may require 35,000 active people per million.

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Toronto350.org joins broad coalition of groups at the March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate

Toronto, Ontario – Today, three days of historic climate action in Canada culminated in the March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate from Queen’s Park to Allan Gardens in downtown Toronto. The march was an unprecedented mobilization in Canada, bringing together a broad coalition of groups all marching for a justice-based transition towards a green economy.

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Climate activists protest outside Enbridge's Annual General Meeting

Protesters hold anti tar sands bannersToronto, Ontario – This afternoon at 1:30pm, various climate action and First Nations groups including Toronto350.org gathered outside the Four Seasons Hotel holding anti-pipeline banners for Enbridge’s annual general meeting. 

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Presentations to U of T committee

All four presentations made by Toronto350.org organizers to the fossil fuel divestment committee at U of T are now online. This version includes links to the relevant sections in the brief, to corroborate the claims in the presentations.

The presentations provide a good overall argument for why divestment from fossil fuel companies is ethical and financially prudent.




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